Jagex is denying a report that it has been purchased for $350 million to settle parent company Fukong Interactive’s debts.
RuneScape is the biggest massively-online multiplayer RPG in the world. It has 260 million created accounts, which dwarfs runner-up World of Warcraft and gives it the title of world's largest and most-updated free MMORPG by Guinness Book of World Records.
The reason for its size? RuneScape was in on the ground floor, opening its servers way back in 2001 when such games were on the bleeding edge. Today, almost every game has some form of multiplayer component and there are dozens, perhaps even hundreds of free MMORPGs out there to play, but back in 2001, there was only RuneScape.
Well, there was also EverQuest, Anarchy Online, Dark Age of Camelot, and Ultima Online, but RuneScape was the biggest one.
Anyway, RuneScape is made by developer Jagex, which got their start making Java-based games when Java was still a cool programming language. Based in Cambridge, UK, Jagex mostly developed RuneScape for over a decade, reiterating its engine several times and even releasing a mobile version in 2018 for iOS and Android.
Jagex was purchased by Chinese holding company Fukong Interactive Entertainment back in 2016 which helped bring the game to a Chinese market, but Fukong announced at the beginning of 2019 that they were looking to sell Jagex in order to settle their financial debts.
An earlier report from Yicai Global indicated that Fukong had found a buyer in American company US Platinum Fortune, but it turns out that report isn’t accurate.
"Fukong's regulatory statement earlier this year acknowledged that the company was looking to restructure its debt, which has resulted in recent announcements regarding a potential sale, however, this remains one of the various possible outcomes and is an evolving situation," said Rich Eddy, Jagex’s director of communications, in a statement to GamesIndustry.biz.
"Jagex has never been in better shape and following five years of record growth, and our focus is to execute our five-year plan built around further investment into the RuneScape franchise, investment in new living games, and working with other studios to publish their living games under our Partners programme."
RuneScape's latest update, Land Out Of Time, adds a prehistoric area to the traditionally fantasy-genre RPG. Dinosaurs aren't exactly high fantasy, but if JRPGs can do it, then so can RuneScape.